The Red Sox will not be making it four series wins to start the season. Their first consecutive losses of 2015 leaves them with a tie at best after an ugly performance saw them to an 8-3 defeat.
The Sox were at least competitive for half the game today, but it was never shaping up to be a particularly impressive performance. Rick Porcello put himself up against the wall early on by allowing Adam Jones an enormous home run over everything in left to put the Sox in an early 2-0 hole, and while they rallied back in the bottom of the inning when Hanley Ramirez one-upped him with a three-run shot into the Monster seats, a second bomb--this time off the bat of Ryan Flaherty--saw their lead evaporate in the very next frame.
Other than that one big swing from Ramirez, Boston's offense suffered many of the same problems that plagued them in the first two games of the series. Situational hitting was non-existent, with Xander Bogaerts unable to move Shane Victorino from second to third with no outs in the fourth inning. When the big hit seemed to come--a line drive from Brock Holt with Victorino still at second--it was right to Delmon Young in left. In the fifth, Pablo Sandoval smashed a come-backer to Miguel Gonzalez who snagged it cleanly to end the frame, then proceeded to watch a ground ball dribble down the third base line for a good five seconds before picking it up just as it seemed to be rolling foul.
This was not all about luck, though. Where Clay Buchholz was let down by his defense and still managed to battle through on Saturday, Rick Porcello was allowing home runs and line drives when he wasn't striking batters out. It was a perfect hit-or-miss performance from Porcello, but in baseball 50% hit and 50% miss is a terrible rate for a pitcher to have.
Still, it was a day that should have ended with an ugly five runs in an ugly five innings that left the Red Sox with a chance to win it late. Instead, with everyone in Fenway expecting a call to the bullpen in the sixth, John Farrell left Rick Porcello in for one batter too many. And then two too many, three too many, and four too many. If the leadoff hit-by-pitch was not enough to sway Farrell to turn to the bullpen, the bases-clearing double off the bat of Adam Jones was. Unfortunately, by that point it was already 8-3, and the game was lost.
The defense made at least three major gaffes, the offense didn't take full advantage of a wild Miguel Gonzalez, and yes, the Red Sox rotation turned in another bad performance. David Ortiz even got himself thrown out of the game by getting in a fight with Jerry Meals (whose failure to keep his own cool as an umpire is not a valid excuse for Ortiz' explosion). The Red Sox are 7-5, but they have lost 3-of-4 now, and aren't looking like a particularly good team right now. They've got only about 17 hours to get themselves right if they're going to avoid their first series loss of the year